The issue of hydrofracking continues to be at the center of a passionate debate around New York State. Wednesday, the DEC held a hearing on new regulations involving liquid natural gas facilities in the state. Activists protested outside that hearing, saying it's linked to the hydrofracking debate. Innae Park has more.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- "Obviously, it has everything to do with fracking," said design engineer Keith Schue.
"We see it as an independent issue," said Andrew English, DEC Division of Environmental Remediation.
The debate over hydraulic fracturing is far from over and now New York's effort to regulate a natural gas is seeping in. Protestors called on the DEC to withdraw its proposed legislation on LNG, or liquefied natural gas, claiming it will open the door to drilling.
Schue said, "What we could see happening in New York is facilities of any size, not just truck fueling stations, but also the larger things. Production facilities that could exist at gas wells and pipelines."
But the DEC says it's solely focusing on how to store and transport LNG, not produce it.
"What it's actually used for is burning as a fuel, either for space heating or as for a vehicle," English said.
"And the hydrofracking controversy has nothing to do with LNG as a transport fuel," said Scott Armstrong, America's Natural Gas Alliance Consultant.
Those in the industry argue New York is lagging behind on a positive change.
Armstrong said, "All 49 states in the country use LNG already. And New York, as a result, tends to get a lot of retired dirty diesel fleets dumped to deliver goods here because they're not allowed to use LNG, which is about half as expensive and, frankly, is cleaner and reduces emissions."
But with LNG facilities, like fueling stations, to be up and running if the regulation moves forward, anti-fracking activists are calling for the state to take a step back.
"This is a dangerous industry," warned Schue.
The public comment period is still open. Written comments will be accepted until December 4th at 5 p.m.